The Heavyweight Division – What Can We Expect In 2021?

This year may well become one of the biggest years in the heavyweight division for a long time. All of the belts are with us here in the UK, meaning that in the coming 12 months we could well see the biggest fight in British boxing history land.

Will the undisputed fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua happen this year? (Photo: Talksport)

Of course, we are talking about Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury. 2021 might well be the year where they finally meet, with all the world title belts on the line and a chance to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, who reigned supreme over 20 years ago.

All roads are clear for this mammoth clash of two heavyweight titans to happen right now. There is no reason as to why the fight cannot happen, which is music to the ears of every single boxing fan in the UK.

With the WBC, WBO, WBA and IBF belts seemingly tied up between the two champions, along with the Ring Magazine belt, which is currently in the possession of ‘The Gypsy King’, it is unlikely that we will see any new names crowned world champion in the coming year.

However, it is never as simple as that and often boxing politics can get in the way, with different sanctioning bodies calling mandatories and ordering defences whenever they like.

After defeating Kubrant Pulev, in what was his IBF mandatory defence, Anthony Joshua has his sights set on becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion, which has been his goal from the outset of his career. The only belt left for Joshua to capture is the WBC strap, which is currently in the hands of Fury. Likewise, Fury would just have to defeat his British rival to claim the other three belts, and become undisputed. This is why this fight simply has to happen.

Putting the belts aside for a second, Joshua v Fury could quite well be the biggest fight in the history of British boxing. It could be up there with Eubank v Benn and Lewis v Bruno, and in many people’s eyes could be bigger than them both.

An enormous spectacle for UK fight fans, having the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world be contested between two of their own.

In terms of the wider landscape of the heavyweight division, 2021 could be a very interesting year indeed.

The main talking point at the minute is the WBA situation with Joshua, who has been called to fight Oleksandr Usyk in a mandatory defence. However, making the Fury fight is the priority, so we could potentially see the WBA strap relinquished from Joshua, which would of course take away from the undisputed fight between him and Fury, but could also give other fringe contenders a chance at becoming world champion.

Oleksandr Usyk has his sights set on capturing a world title in the coming year. (Photo: The Independent)

Usyk will fight for the WBO world title next. Whether that be against Joshua or not, he is the mandatory challenger. If the belt is given up by ‘AJ’, we could well see a fellow Brit in Joe Joyce fight Usyk for the vacant belt.

A fight between Joyce and Usyk is another really interesting one, if it were to happen. The pair have history in the amateurs, where Usyk beat Joyce in the World Series of Boxing, so a potential rematch in the professional ranks for a world title is most certainly a mouth-watering proposition for fight fans.

In terms of fringe contenders, there are several men who will be hoping for a shot at either Joshua or Fury, if the pair for some reason don’t meet and carry on defending against other contenders.

As already mentioned, Usyk and Joyce both fancy a shot, and could well face each other. Deontay Wilder is still hanging about, hoping to get the trilogy fight with Fury. People like Andy Ruiz, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and Michael Hunter are also chomping at the bit for their shot at world honours.